Vision Series Lecture by Dr. A. Alonso Aguirre – Oct. 7, 2013
Sea Turtles as Sentinels of Ocean Health: Linking Land to Sea
A. Alonso Aguirre
Executive Director, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Monday, October 7, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Hylton Center, Prince William Center
The human impacts on the world’s oceans have devastated populations, species and ecosystems, but methodologies to assess marine ecological health are lacking. One proactive method of surveying sentinel species will address the large-scale problem of disease emergence. Sea turtles are “early warning” indicators that may reflect the health of marine ecosystems related to emerging infectious diseases. Sea turtles are good integrators of changes over space and time and represent excellent sentinels of ecological health. By moving in and out of infected/polluted areas, they can spread pathogens and contaminants geographically and throughout the food chain and serve as connectors of land and sea. Few studies link the impacts of terrestrial activities to marine ecosystems but recent research indicates that contamination with a terrestrial origin is impacting many marine populations. New techniques and methodologies are needed to measure long-term impacts on sea turtle populations.
(45-minute presentation followed by informal reception)